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WJ Tested: Globus La France Motorcoach Tour – Normandy and Brittany
Today our Globus La France motorcoach tour would visit Normandy and Brittany. Our 6:15 a.m. wake-up call was punctual and we had our luggage outside our door before going to breakfast at 7 a.m. The buffet breakfast in the hotel dining room was simple, but adequate – coffee, tea, juice, pastries, croissants, fruit, deli meat, cheese.
We departed from the hotel by 7:50 a.m. while Vic gave us a short, but rather in-depth overview about the area’s history and the impact that WWII had had on the region. Within 25 minutes we were solemnly standing in the wind viewing the memorial on Omaha Beach.
It was a very sobering and humbling moment for all in our group, and some shared stories about relatives that had served in the war. We think most were envisioning troops coming out of the ocean, the German’s waiting in their bunkers on the hill above, and the mayhem that subsequently followed.
As this wasn’t part of our tour schedule, we only stayed a short time, but it was long enough to feel in awe of those brave soldiers that risked and gave their lives so many years ago.
Omaha Beach Facts:
American Cemetery and Memorial:
Our next destination in Normandy was the American Cemetery and Memorial, and as we drove along Omaha Beach we saw the few bunkers that remain, and fishing boats being towed by tractors towards the sea.
The American Cemetery and Memorial, near the village of Colleville-sur-Mer, sits on 172.5 acres and is the resting place of nearly 11,000 souls. With about 90-minutes to spend at the site, we spent time both in the Visitor Center and walking through the cemetery.
By 10:30 a.m. we were again back on the coach for the 2-hour journey to Mont-Saint-Michel. As we drove along, Vic handed out brochures for our visit to the UNESCO site, and the song “Lili Marleen” sung by Marlene Dietrich, played overhead.
Once we arrived in Mont-Saint-Michel, there was time to have lunch before our guided tour. Vic offered to arrange a 2-course lunch (euro 15) for anyone interested (salad starter and lamb with vegetables) at one of the restaurants near the parking area for anyone that cared to do so. We declined as we wanted to spend the 60-minute lunch break exploring.
In order to get from the area where the coach parked to Mont-Saint-Michel, we needed to ride a shuttle bus for about 5 minutes. Vic escorted us on the shuttle, then left us for a couple of hours with an expert local guide, Gayene.
A visit to Mont-Saint-Michel requires comfortable footwear and good knees if you want to walk up the 936 steps that need to be traversed. Although there are only 22 local residents living at Mont-Saint-Michel, there are over 3.5 million visitors per year.
Our visit did not give us adequate time to try the famous omelette (prices start at euro 25) at La Mere Poulard, but we did take a few minutes at the end of the tour to take photos of the omelette-making process from the open kitchen.
Once we were finished with Gayene’s guided tour, Vic once again met our group and escorted us on the shuttle bus and then back to the coach for the 45-minute drive to our hotel in St-Malo. At this point, we left Normandy and drove into Brittany, where we witnessed a complete change of architecture – to granite buildings.
Interesting Travel Tips:
The Oceania Hotel in St-Malo is situated along the beach, and some guestrooms have wonderful beach and ocean views with nice balconies, but many do not. So those in our group that had oceanview rooms certainly enjoyed them more than those that overlooked the construction site across the street.
Once we received our room keys we had about 20 minutes before meeting Vic in the hotel lobby. He was taking us for a 30-minute guided walk along the ramparts, followed by about 10 minutes free time to spend wandering the old town before making our way back to the hotel for our included dinner.
The local dinner was at La Table d’Henri– across the street from the hotel. A 3-course fixed menu offering two choices for both the starter and main course, was served to our group in a private room.
The fruit salad for dessert wasn’t very well received by most passengers, and especially not by those celebrating a special occasion – a sparkler in a cup of fruit salad just isn’t very festive!
St-Malo Fun Facts:
By 9:30 p.m. dinner was finished, and while some in our group went to the casino adjoining the hotel, others took a stroll on the beach or just called it a day. The sun didn’t set until nearly 10 p.m. so despite clouds and a sprinkling of rain, it was a very pretty evening.
Read More About WAVEJourney’s Globus La France Adventures:
| Overview | Paris Day 1 | Paris City Tour Day 2 | Normandy Day 3 | Normandy and Brittany Day 4 | Loire Day 5 | Loire Valley and Bordeaux Day 6 | Saint Emilion Day 7 | Biarritz and Lourdes Day 8 | Carcassonne and Nimes Day 9 | Pont du Gard and Avignon Day 10 | Monte Carlo Day 11 | Grasse to Grenoble Day 12 | Lyon to Dijon Day 13 | Dijon to Paris Day 14 |